Social media is a low-cost and convenient communication tool that can be used by opposition populists to reach their supporters, by the governing regime to engage directly with the electorate, and by malign external forces to spread fake news. These platforms can be exploited to spread fake news and narratives that are polarizing, divisive, and anti-liberal because they lack the fact-checking found in traditional media outlets. Social media helps populists (both as candidates and as part of the governing regime) to aggregate and unify people to promote a shared cause against the liberal establishment and liberal freedoms and to erode democratic pillars. Malign external actors use social media to intervene in democratic elections in weak democratic countries to cause further erosion of trust in the democratic system. These combined actions create a radicalizing effect in weak liberal democracies that can potentially turn a liberal-democratic regime into an illiberal regime, or even an autocratic one.
Democratic principles further erode when candidates such as Bolsonaro, who use social media manipulation as part of their campaign strategy, continue with these tactics after assuming power and becoming part of the governing regime.
Between 2000 and 2017, 60 percent of all dictatorships faced at least one anti-government protest of 50 participants or more. Ten authoritarian regimes fell during this period and 19 were replaced through elections, many of which came in the wake of mass protests.139 According to Democracy Report 2020, pro-democracy protests reached an all-time high in 2019 as people took to the streets to protest the erosion of democracies and to challenge dictators.140 The leaderless nature of 2019 Hong Kong protests against China, for example, was made possible by social media. Protesters took their cues from more than 100 groups on the instant messaging app Telegram, dozens of Instagram pages, and online forums like LIHKG. These groups were used to post everything from news on upcoming protests and tips on defending oneself from tear gas canisters fired by the police to the identities of suspected undercover police and the access codes to buildings in Hong Kong where protesters could hide.141 Overseas Chinese dissidents and activists played a crucial role by assisting and even guiding activists in Hong Kong. Chinese expatriates connected with those in Hong Kong via social media to get information about what was going on to journalists, non-governmental organizations, and activists in other countries.142
To summarize, American social media platforms may intensify the power of strong authoritarian regimes by helping them, directly and indirectly, to become digital dictatorships. They use the knowledge power of compliant platforms as part of their surveillance machine while blocking those platforms that refuse to play by their rules.
DescriptionIn this course, we review use cases and challenges of three interrelated areas in artificial intelligence: big data, the internet of things (IoT), and cybersecurity. Students gain an overview of the possibilities and challenges of building complex information systems that take advantage of recent advances in these fields. The course is divided into three parts, each focused on research conducted by leading Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) experts in their fields. Students will gain an understanding of what is possible and what not today, as well as what are MIT researchers trying to make possible in the near future. The first part surveys state-of-the-art topics in big data: data collection (smartphones, sensors, and the web), data storage and processing (scalable relational databases, Hadoop, and Spark), extracting structured data from unstructured data, systems issues (exploiting multicore processors and security), analytics (machine learning, data compression, and efficient algorithms), visualization, and a range of applications. In this part students learn to distinguish big data (volume, velocity, and variety), learn where it comes from, and the key challenges in gathering and using it; determine how and where big data challenges arise in a number of domains, including social media, transportation, finance, and medicine; investigate multicore challenges and how to engineer around them; explore the relational model, SQL, and capabilities of new relational systems in terms of scalability and performance; understand the capabilities and pitfalls of NoSQL systems and how the NewSQL movement addresses these issues; and maximize the MapReduce programming model: its benefits, how it compares to relational systems, and new developments that improve its performance and robustness. The second part of the course looks at the IoT. While the promise of the IoT brings many new business prospects, it also presents significant challenges ranging from technology architectural choices to security concerns. This part of the course offers important insights into how to overcome these challenges and thrive in this exciting space. The concept of IoT has begun to make an impact in industries ranging from industrial systems to home automation to healthcare. MIT researchers continue to conduct ground-breaking research on topics that are presented ranging from radio frequency identification (RFID) to cloud technologies, from sensors to the world wide web. The third and final part of the course covers cybersecurity issues related to hardware, software, cryptography, and policy to make better, safer decisions. Topics include systems (secure architectures, network security, secure programming languages, and system verification); algorithmic solutions (public key cryptography, multi-party computation, secret sharing, distributing trust, and computing on encrypted data); public policy issues in cybersecurity; and case studies (BitLocker, web security, and mobile phone security).Prerequisites: An introductory computer science course (for example, CSCI E-3, CSCI E-7, or CSCI E-10a) plus familiarity with precalculus mathematics (MATH E-10 or the equivalent).
When the Germans invade France, an invasion that most people didn't - at the time, didn't think would work, it not only allows them to connect all their military units in a new manner, allow them to coordinate and move faster than ever before, but it also connected back into the enemy population, and it spread a contagion of fear. And it's one of these things that the contemporaries described as this strange defeat. They couldn't express what happened until they figured out, really, radio was what caused it all, caused the world to change. And we saw many of the same things play out in the rise of ISIS at a broader level, but also its military operation, its surprise invasion of Iraq that allowed it to defeat a force that was multiple times bigger. It's part of these ways that social media has, in effect, changed the world. 1e1e36bf2d